Posted by Thomas Nephew on 15th November 2012
Debt kills. Well, ruthless debt punishment kills:
As the head of Greece’s largest oncology department, Dr. Kostas Syrigos thought he had seen everything. But nothing prepared him for Elena, an unemployed woman whose breast cancer had been diagnosed a year before she came to him. By that time, her cancer had grown to the size of an orange and broken through the skin, leaving a wound that she was draining with paper napkins. “When we saw her we were speechless,” said Dr. Syrigos, the chief of oncology at Sotiria General Hospital in central Athens. “Everyone was crying. Things like that are described in textbooks, but you never see them because until now, anybody who got sick in this country could always get help.
Elena’s still alive, no thanks to the Troika of course. Dimitris Christoulas isn’t:
A picture of the man who has come to embody the inequities of Greece‘s financial crisis has begun to emerge, with friends and neighbours shedding light on the life of the elderly pensioner who killed himself in Athens on Wednesday.
Named as Dimitris Christoulas by the Greek media, the retired pharmacist was described as decent, law-abiding, meticulous and dignified.
The 77-year-old had written in his one-page, three-paragraph suicide note that it would be better to have a “decent end” than be forced to scavenge in the “rubbish to feed myself”.
Neither is this man, left anonymous in this account by Greek political economist Yanis Varoufakis:
The man had been missing since August. His last sighting was at the Social Security Offices (IKA) in a small town called Siatista, where he was told that his small monthly disability allowance of 280 euros was suspended, as a result of the latest austerity measures. Eyewitnesses said, according to Athens daily ‘Ta Nea’, that they saw him leave upset and speechless. Soon after he placed a call to his family telling them that “he feels useless” and adding that he “has nothing to offer them anymore”. Naturally, they were alarmed, and soon after called the police. It was only the other day that the Police located his hanging body in a remote wooded area, suspended by the neck from the cliff which was to be his last resort.
These aren’t isolated cases, reports the Guardian’s Helena Smith:
Police data show a 20% increase in suicide rates in the two years since the outbreak of Europe‘s debt crisis in Greece in late 2009, although the health ministry estimated the figure was almost double that in the first five months of 2011 compared to the first five months of 2010. Suicide hotlines have been deluged with appeals for help.